A thousand years ago, Bob Dylan sang, in "Subterranean Homesick Blues":
Twenty years of schoolin'
And they put you on the day shift.
Bernie Sanders and John Kerry are singing a different tune these days, one about how lack of a college degree (roughly, 16 years of schoolin') and they put you either in a foxhole in Iraq or in the slammer. Writes Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds in USA Today:
The other day, Sanders tweeted: "At the end of the day, providing a path to go to college is a helluva lot cheaper than putting people on a path to jail."
Sanders' comments carried the same elitist tinge that marked John Kerry's unfortunate remarks in 2006: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
Kerry's comment created a firestorm of criticism — and, if I recall correctly, some pretty amusing commentary from troops actually in Iraq — since it both overstated the value of education and cast unfair aspersions on soldiers serving in Iraq.
This is stupid, for many reasons, including these two:
Sanders' remarks created a similar backlash. They're wrong on two levels: First, going to college doesn't necessarily keep you out of jail; there are plenty of criminals with college degrees. Second, not going to college hardly puts you "on a path to jail."
Last week, I blogged the brilliant response to Sanders from Mike Rowe, the host of CNN's Somebody's Gotta Do It, who said in part:
I wonder sometimes, if the best way to question the increasingly dangerous idea that a college education is the best path for the most people, is to stop fighting the sentiment directly, and simply shine a light on the knuckleheads who continue to perpetuate this nonsense. This latest tweet from Bernie Sanders is a prime example. In less than 140 characters, he's managed to imply that a path to prison is the most likely alternative to a path to college. Pardon my acronym, but…WTF!?…
It's a cautionary tale as predictable as it is false. But now, as people are slowly starting to understand the obscenity of 1.3 trillion dollars in student loans, along with the abundance of opportunity for those with the proper training, it seems the proponents of "college for all" need something even more frightening than the prospect of a career in the trades to frighten the next class into signing on the dotted line. According to Senator Sanders, that "something," is a path to jail.
And watch Reason's interview with Rowe, who loves college actually, about why trade jobs are going unfilled despite huge employer demand: